Dysfunctional Bancroft Family Took One Last Bite At Dow Jones Apple

The best piece of the weekend concerning Rupert Murdoch's takeover of Dow Jones came from former Journal employee Joseph Nocera, who wrote (behind the TimesSelect wall, naturally) about how the takeover happened through the lens of a disgruntled Bancroft family member and Murdoch himself. Essentially, the Bancrofts were too divided and dysfunctional to ever stand a chance against the rapacious Rupert. "I just didn't realize that they were so disorganized," says Murdoch, who promises not to fiddle about too much with the paper ("I won't meddle any more than Arthur Sulzberger does."). Nocera buys it. But oh yes there is more!

  • Ad Age: How Murdoch will change the Journal.
  • "Just prior to the Ban croft family's approval of selling Dow Jones to News Corp., the family doubled the dividend it takes from the company, filings said. Instead of its usual 25-cent per share quarterly dividend, the board voted to boost it to 50 cents, doubling its latest quarterly cash dividend to $10.3 million."
  • Former Managing Editor Paul Steiger: "Conflicted but hopeful." Also rich.
  • Who has the most to lose from the takeover? In Europe, the Financial Times, in the states, the New York Times. The FT claims to be unafraid, but maybe they should be: "Mr Murdoch will soak up losses for years to beat off competition. The FT can't do that. It has to deliver to [parent company] Pearson's bottom line."
  • David Carr: Will Paul Gigot be able to keep the editorial pages independent? Sure, he's got it written on paper, but we know how valuable that is. (Nice dig: Carr refers to the WSJ staffers as the "crazy cousins" of WSJ reporters.)
  • Alexander Cockburn, same topic: "The only reason why Murdoch might respect the Journal's independence, at least in the opinion pages, is that the views expressed there are even more rabid than his own, and perhaps Murdoch savors the possibility that one day he might call up Paul Gigot, the editorial page editor, and hint that he might moderate his tone."
  • Interesting Times op-ed from Alistair Campbell, former spinner for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, claiming that Murdoch doesn't have some sinister political agenda, he only really cares about how things will affect his business interests. (Campbell uses the example of Murdoch changing his long-standing preference from the British Conservative party to the Labour party when it became clear that Labour was going to win, the better to curry favor with Blair.) So, uh, no worries!
  • The New Yorker boo hoo hoos the whole thing.